Appointment of an Ombudsperson to the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomes the appointment of Canadian judge Kimberley Prost as the first Ombudsperson for the Al Qaeda – Taliban Sanctions Committee, also known as Committee 1267, by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The Sanctions Committee is responsible for managing a consolidated list with 498 names of persons and organizations associated with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and for applying sanctions such as assets freeze, travel bans and arms embargoes. FIDH has long deplored the lack of due process and transparency of the listing and delisting procedures. These procedures were in fact condemned by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in September 2008 in Kadi & Al Barakaat v. Council of the EU & EC Commission. In December 2009, the members of the UN Security Council attempted to redress this situation by adopting Resolution 1904 (2009), which created an Office of the Ombudsperson, enabling individuals or entities who believe they were wrongly listed to request delisting. The Office of the Ombudsperson is responsible for receiving those requests and providing an independent and impartial advice on the validity and merit of the said request.
“The appointment of an Ombudsperson is a significant step forward in improving the fairness of the procedures. We urge Judge Prost to act with as much independency and transparency as she possibly can in her new rôle,” said Souhayr Belhassen, president of FIDH. The appointment of Judge Prost, a former Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia, shows the determination of the United Nations to take action after the progress embodied by Resolution 1904.
FIDH hopes that Judge Prost will fully embrace the extent of her mandate and explore the range of possibilities that are offered to her in order to make her appointment even more significant. Indeed, while this new procedure represents an improvement, FIDH deplores the fact that the ultimate listing and delisting decisions remain in the hands of the Security Council by consensus only, hence failing to provide an impartial and independent review of the sanctions and directly infringing upon international human rights obligations and due process rights. Moreover, FIDH regrets the lack of effective remedies to individuals or entities wrongfully sanctioned. FIDH thus urges Judge Prost and the members of the Security Council to make the most of this momentum and take these progresses to the next level.

Press contact: Claire Tixeire – ctixeire@fidh.org ; + 1 212 445 6420

Please visit:
- FIDH’s counter terrorism website: http://www.fidh.org/-Terrorism-
- FIDH’s reports on counter terrorism and human rights: http://www.fidh.org/- Terrorism-?id_mot=26

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